On Saturday, Emma Watson, Global Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, spoke at the launch of He for She, a campaign for gender equality. You may know Emma from her roles on the big screen as Hermione Granger of the Harry Potter series, but you should also know that she's not just "that actress from Harry Potter." She is speaking about feminism and how it should stop being equated to man-hating. She speaks candidly about she struggled with gender inequality at a very young age. Watch her speech by clicking play below or read through the transcript in its entirety on the He For She website.
We think it's awesome that Emma is using her celebrity status in such a meaningful way. It would be so easy to just be a "face" of a campaign and not really know what it's about. But listening to her speak from experience, you can't help but think, this is my issue, too. This is our issue. She asks, "How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?" At this point, she invites the men to take part because gender equality is their issue, too. In a few words, she explains how He for She is about freedom for both women and men:
"We don't often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don't have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won't feel compelled to be submissive. If men don't have to control, women won't have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.... It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead two opposing sets of ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we just are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It's about freedom."
So ask yourself, if not you, who? If not now, when?